Campus & Community

David Korn named University’s vice provost for research

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David Korn, a longtime leader in research policy and science administration, will become the University’s vice provost for research, Provost Steven E. Hyman announced today (Sept. 15).

A distinguished pathologist who was dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine for more than a decade, Korn has served since 1997 in senior roles at the Association of American Medical Colleges, where he is now the chief scientific officer.

In his new role at Harvard, starting full time on Nov. 15, he will have broad responsibility for the review, development, and implementation of policies related to the conduct of academic research, especially in the sciences, and to aspects of the University’s relations with industry. He will also work with the provost, the deans, the executive vice president, and others to identify and ease practical impediments to interdisciplinary collaboration in research, as Harvard increasingly pursues academic ventures involving multiple Schools, departments, and affiliated institutions whose policies and practices sometimes vary in ways that can constrain opportunities for cooperative work.

“David Korn’s appointment represents an important milestone in our effort to assure that our research policies reflect core academic values and enable researchers throughout the Harvard community to do their most creative and productive work,” said Hyman. “Especially at a time when Harvard is experimenting with new collaborative models of learning and discovery, we have an obligation to consider how our array of research policies, both as framed and as implemented, can best promote cooperative effort within the University and how they can appropriately balance the complex of considerations bearing on our relationships with government, industry, and others. David Korn’s thoughtfulness, expertise, and deep experience at the nexus of research and policy will contribute greatly to our intensified efforts in this domain.”

Among other things, Korn is expected to take the lead in convening a University-wide research policy committee, which will bring together key faculty and administrators from different parts of Harvard to review existing institutional policies bearing on the conduct of research and consider ways to enhance and supplement them. He will also work with faculty and with administrative colleagues in government affairs, sponsored research, technology licensing, and other domains to sustain sound and appropriate relations with industry and with private and government agencies involved with academic research.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to return to Harvard, which gave me the solid foundation upon which I have built my career,” said Korn. “Even more, I see this job as arguably the most challenging of my career, because it does not, like most such posts, come with its own history, roadmap, or culture.”

A graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Medical School who trained in pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Korn has served since January 2008 as chief scientific officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which represents America’s medical schools and many of its major teaching hospitals in Washington, D.C. Previously, starting in September 1997, he was the AAMC’s senior vice president for biomedical and health sciences research.

Korn was the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Professor and dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine from 1984 to 1995, also serving from 1986 to 1995 as Stanford’s vice president for medical affairs. Before becoming dean, he was professor and chairman of the Department of Pathology at Stanford, and chief of the Pathology Service at the Stanford University Hospital. He is a past chairman of the Stanford University Committee on Research as well as a past president of the American Association of Pathologists (now the American Society for Investigative Pathology), from which he received a lifetime achievement award in 2004. He has served on a wide array of boards and committees related to science and research policy, and from 1984 to 1991 chaired the National Cancer Advisory Board.

A founder and chairman of the board of the California Transplant Donor Network, Korn more recently helped to found the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, a nonprofit corporation created to enhance and standardize the protection of human participants in medical and other scientific research. He is a member of the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine and was a founding member of its Clinical Research Roundtable.